Inside the 15th Region (1-11-16)
Overview: Lawrence County has shown very little weakness and is still the favorite, Johnson Central is closing the gap and getting a key player back from injury, Pike Central and Belfry have been bitten by the injury and transfer bug, Magoffin County is loaded and primed for a post season run, and Pikeville is still the 15th Region Jekyll and Hyde. The cream is rising to the top as we hit the half way point of the season. Let’s see how the rankings have changed in the last week.
1. Lawrence County (15-3) – Lawrence County went 1-1 in Week 6 with a win and a loss in the WYMT Mountain Classic. The Bulldogs opened the classic with Perry Central (a team they had defeated 8 days earlier 55-47) and fell to the hot shooting Commodores 73-82 (trailing by as many as 18 late in the 2nd half). Lawrence was able to bounce back with an impressive win over the Mountain Classic host school Knott County Central two days later by a final of 85-71. In Week 7, the Bulldogs will open 60th District play on the road vs. Pike Central, then host another district foe in Belfry. LC will be heavily favored in both contest.
2. Johnson Central (8-7) – The Golden Eagles have won 5 straight after a slow start and don’t look to stop anytime soon (winning by an average of 20 ppg). JC went 3-0 in week 6 with wins at Pike Central, home vs. Paintsville, and at Belfry. In the Belfry game, JC standout junior Mason Blair dropped and incredible 30 points in the 1st Quarter on his way to 43 total points. The 30 point quarter was the 3rd most ever scored in a quarter according to the KHSAA official record book. In week 7, Johnson Central will look to stay hot as they host 57th District foe Sheldon Clark and travel to East Ridge. On a side note, Johnson Central senior SF Josh Hitchcock has been cleared for full basketball activities and should improve the Golden Eagle roster greatly moving forward.
3. Magoffin County (8-5) – The Hornets picked up a solid win on the road vs. South Floyd in Week 6 by a final of 66-59. After losing 4 out of 5, Magoffin looks to have rebounded and are heading in the right direction. When at their best, Magoffin has all the pieces to win the 15th Region and it will be interesting to see how they progress as we are now past the midway point of the season. In Week 7 the Hornets will host 57th District opponent Paintsville.
4. Shelby Valley (10-4) – The Wildcats competed in the All-A in Week 6 and picked up two wins in convincing fashion (Phelps by 12 points: Prestonsburg by 20 points). Led by Hunter Swindall, Shelby Valley is steadily improving as the season goes on. Currently, SV is scheduled to play Paintsville in the All-A semifinals, host 59th District opponent Pikeville, and travel to 59th District opponent East Ridge in Week 7. This may change depending on the results of the All-A, but nonetheless will be a busy week for the Wildcats.
5. Pikeville (7-8) – Pikeville went 1-1 in week six with a loss at home to Belfry and an opening win in the All A classic vs. South Floyd. The Panthers are very well coached and seem to be getting better in the absence of Senior guard Ryder Johnson (quad injury – time table for return unknown). The more comfortable and aggressive Wyatt Battaile gets (quarterback of football team), the more this team will improve. Week 7 will see Pikeville compete in the All A Semifinals vs. East Ridge and compete in the Hatfield-McCoy shootout vs. Chapmanville, WV in Williamson, WV.
6. East Ridge (10-5) – The Warriors quietly continue to pile up wins and have advanced to the All A Semfinals vs. Pikeville in Week 7. Week 6 saw the Warriors go 2-0 in the All A with wins over Allen Central and Sheldon Clark. Week 7 will also see the East Ridge host 59th District opponent Shelby Valley and travel to Williamson, WV for the Hatfield-McCoy Shootout (opponent TBD). The deliberate style East Ridge likes to play will keep them in many games as we move toward post-season play.
7. South Floyd (6-8) – The Raiders have solid guard play and excellent post play when they stay out of early foul trouble (which has been a problem the last few weeks of competition). In week 6 South Floyd lost to Magoffin County at home and Pikeville in the All A Classic. Both games were very competitive and the Raiders should also get the services of J.R. Tackett very soon (recovering from knee surgery). Don’t sleep on South Floyd as they will travel to Betsy Layne in a big 58th District showdown.
8. Pike Central (6-9) – Week 6 saw the Hawks to Johnson Central (running clock) and Paintsville at home, then defeat Phelps on the road in 60th District play. Take the losses with a grain of salt as Pike Central has been without their best player in Teddy Smith (kidney infection). The Hawks play hard and have seen excellent development in athletic swing man Ryan Eads. In Week 7 Pike Central will host Lawrence County in 60th District play, travel to Prestonsburg, and host Rock Creek Academy, IN in the Hawk Classic Shootout.
9. Paintsville (4-7) – In week 6 the Tigers lost to cross town rival Johnson Central (running clock) then ended their 6 game losing streak at Pike Central. Following the Pike Central win, Paintsville advanced to All A semifinals with a win over Betsy Layne. In Week 7 Paintsville will face Shelby Valley in the All A, then travel to Magoffin (57th District match-up) and to Greenup County. The Tigers had been without the services of multisport star Luke Trimble, but he is back as the Tigers are improving.
10. Betsy Layne (6-7) – The Bobcats went 1-1 in Week 6 by defeating Piarist in the All A then losing to Paintsville. Betsy Layne has one of the best big men in the region in Zach Hamilton, but recently the rest of the team has struggled getting him the ball in a position to score. In Week 7, Betsy Layne will travel to Sheldon Clark, host South Floyd in a 58th District contest, and battle against Mann, WV at Williamson, WV in the Hatfield-McCoy shootout.
11. Allen Central (6-8) – The Rebels went 1-1 in Week 6 with a win against Piarist and a loss to East Ridge in the All A Classic. Allen Central will look to go 3-0 in Week 7 as they play Jenkins, Piarist, and Prestonsburg.
12. Sheldon Clark (4-9) – The Cardinals are somewhat of an enigma. They pass the eye test and shoot the deep ball very well. In Week 6 Sheldon Clark lost to East Ridge in the All A Classic. In Week 7 they will travel to Betsy Layne and host Johnson Central is a huge 57th District match-up.
13. Belfry (3-9) – The Pirates defeated Pikeville on the road in Week 6 (building a double digit 4th Quarter lead and holding on late for the 55-53 win). Belfry then lost to Johnson Central (Mason Blair dropped 43 for the Golden Eagles: 30 in the first quarter) at home and lost to Greenup County on the road. Belfry will play two 60th District opponents in Week 7 (Lawrence County on the road, Phelps at home) and will travel to Williamson, WV where they will square off against cross creek rival Mingo Central in the Hatfield-McCoy Shootout. Don’t let the Belfry record fool you, had it not been for an overtime loss, double overtime loss, and triple overtime loss to quality competition, the Pirates could easily be 7-6. It should also be noted that the Pirates lost a few key players as they have elected to leave the team and transfer to other schools (one of those school’s being Pike Central in the form of sharp shooter Isiah Roblee – eligibility pending)
14. Prestonsburg (2-12) – The Blackcats have lost 8 in a row and were knocked out of the All A by Shelby Valley (3rd loss to SV on the season). Prestonsburg will host Allen Central (58th District opponent) and Pike Central in Week 7.
15. Phelps (2-10) – The Hornets went 1-2 in Week 6 with losses in the All A to Shelby Valley and a 60th District loss to Pike Central. Phelps did pick up a win vs. Riverside Christian and will look to improve their young talent as the season progresses.
16. Piarist (0-11) – The Knights will have a chance to get their first win of the year as they will travel to winless Riverside Christian in Week 7.
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